Know Thy Occupier
Let’s set the scene first….
A bare licence for land with stabling for 2 horses on a personal licence only, (so very limited rights for the licensee and gives the licensor far more flexibility). Fast forward to 10 years continued occupation, a nominal licence fee paid and everyone seemingly on good relations.
Client wants the land back and enters dialogue giving the licensee lots of advance notice and even offers alternative accommodation. Licensee alleges 1954 Act protected tenancy (an automatic right to a new lease, limited grounds to terminate and client liable to pay compensation), had been running a livery business for 10 years in full knowledge of client (disputed) but will surrender for an arbitrary significant sum.
I was instructed to advise on the nature of the occupation, whether the licence had become a 1954 Act tenancy and how to obtain vacant possession. Advice was given, arguments raised with the other side and police were contacted as criminal damage occurred. The threat of enforcement and the strength of our legal position resulted in the occupiers vacating by the deadline given. What wasn’t expected, was that the stables had been converted into a cannabis farm and full production was underway!
The clients knew nothing about this, were understandably shocked and worried about the ramifications of this happening on their land. Luckily the police were understanding and no consequences arose for them.
Always have it Writing
The lessons? (1) Know your tenant/licensee/occupier and (2) don’t let them onto your property without something in writing.
Keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour, make periodic inspections, keep the lines of communication open, have the right documentation in place and fundamentally look after your property and investment. It doesn’t matter if its open land, a flat, industrial unit or office space, the same rules apply.
If you’d like to know more about the services I provide and how I can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me, Simone Ritchie, at [email protected] or on 0330 0885792/ 07867 387902
This guide is to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice nor does it create a client relationship.
Woodstock Property Law is the trading name of Woodstock Property Law Limited (registered in England and Wales with company number 09002137) authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA No. 614145) see www.sra.org.uk/rules
Registered office: 11 Blake Dene Road, Lilliput, Poole, BH14 8HF Web: woodstockpropertylaw.com